When the Fears Don’t Go Away

“The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “’Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’” Matthew 8:25, NLT

“Although the disciples had witnessed many miracles, they panicked in this storm. As experienced sailors, they knew its danger; what they did not know was that Jesus could control the forces of nature. We often encounter storms in our lives where we feel God can’t or won’t work. When we truly understand who God is, however, we will realize that he controls both the storms of nature and the storms of the troubled heart. Jesus’ power that calmed this storm can also help us deal with the problems we face. And he is with us. Jesus is willing to help if we only ask him. We should never discount his power even in terrible trials.”

Note from the Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition

Reflection from Evie, Bible Team Marketing Coordinator

It was the third e-mail in a month from our daughter’s middle school. “Violence has been threatened against the school, but we are handling the situation and the person who initiated the threat is not on campus.” That was basically all we got. We spoke to Els about the situation and she didn’t seem overly concerned. In what is unfortunately our reality we moved on thinking it was “just” a social media prank. We prayed with her, told her to pay attention to her surroundings, and to share with her teachers and us if anything didn’t feel right or she was scared.

But at dinner the next night Els said, “My friend was shaking she was so scared. She was on the bus when she heard a boy say, ‘Don’t come to school during 5th–7th period today because I’m going to shoot up the school.’”

As any self-proclaimed protective momma bear would, I ran around the table hugging her as a million thoughts consumed me. How can we homeschool her? What is wrong with that school? Wait until the principal gets an earful from me! Who is that kid? I am talking to his parents! But in the midst of my chaotic thoughts her sweet voice broke through. “It’s okay, Mom. God knows what’s going on. It’s going to be okay.”

Taking extra time to tuck her into bed that night, I glanced around her room. There were porgs, cuddly droids, and strange looking animals from a galaxy far, far away spilling from her bed to the floor. The half-read giant encyclopedias filled with information about strange looking creatures with even weirder names were hastily placed on surfaces throughout her room. She was just a kid. She shouldn’t have to worry about her safety. I took comfort in knowing that in just a few days we would be able to get away to Disney World. She needed an escape—I needed an escape—from the fears of violence at school. And the chance to be immersed in a Stars Wars land—I couldn’t wait to see her face!

The day arrived to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It was still dark when we boarded a bus from our resort to head to the park. Els seemed quiet, and we thought she was just tired from such an early morning. As we made our way toward the immersive land she started walking slower and then stopped. “Mom, I don’t want to go!”

“What? You love Star Wars. You are going. You’ll love it!”

“No. Kylo Ren is there. I’m not going.”

Our brave, mellow preteen broke down sobbing. She panicked. We couldn’t get her to move. She just sobbed saying, “I’m scared. I’m too scared.” I had never seen her so upset and honestly didn’t know what to do. She was paralyzed with fear.

With a lot of convincing and some bribing about blue milk we finally got her to move. As we walked into this totally immersive experience, I prayed that Kylo would stay in his own galaxy far, far away and we wouldn’t lose Els’ trust. She was shaking from fear when we noticed one of the characters working on a ship.

We started talking to him and I explained how our daughter was very scared of the First Order (the bad guys). I asked if he had any tips for avoiding them while we visited his planet (I totally bought into the whole immersive thing). He said, “Oh yes! I’m finishing here. Let me grab my tools and I’ll take you to the Falcon.” He jumped over the low wall and encouraged us to follow him. “Hi, I’m Immanuel. Don’t worry, I know all the best hiding places. I will get you there safely,” he said smiling at Els. He guided us through the entire extremely detailed and beautiful imaginary world. As he ran ahead to check that everything was safe and then signaled for us to follow, I watched Els’ fears fade. Her eyes began to sparkle as fear lost its grip and enjoyment and excitement grew.

When we neared the Millennium Falcon, with his reassurance that we were safe, our hero left us extremely thankful. (Sorry Han Solo—Immanuel is now my favorite Star Wars character!) My mom in all her wisdom turned to Els and said, “Do you know what Immanuel means? It means God with us. What you were afraid of never went away. Your fears were always around you, but you could get through it because Immanuel was with us. If we are walking with God, it doesn’t matter what’s going on around us. We can be confident knowing he is with us.”

When I think about those weeks and my mom’s words, I am taken to the boat where Jesus and the disciples are traveling across the lake. While Jesus naps, a storm hits and the disciples are paralyzed with fear.

“The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked. ‘Even the winds and waves obey him!’” Matthew 8:25-27, NLT.

It wasn’t like the disciples hadn’t seen Jesus perform miracles before that moment. They had seen him heal numerous people, including Peter’s mother-in-law. They had heard his powerful teaching, and they were still afraid. Many of them were seasoned fishermen who had been in loads of storms, and yet it was at this moment that they panicked. It was a fear they knew and understood. So much of what they were hearing from Jesus they couldn’t fully understand, but this . . . this they knew.

What they didn’t fully understand yet was the power of Immanuel. They knew to run to Jesus to be saved, but that deeper trust of being confident in his presence was still being formed in them.

So what about my life? The things I’m afraid of won’t disappear. My stomach still churns each time I see an e-mail pop up from Els’ school. Els is still afraid of Kylo Ren. But when we learn to bask in the understanding of Immanuel, when we know that he has the power and compassion to walk with us through the unknown and the known fears, we can go forward with confidence. We can experience an overwhelming peace knowing he can bring calm to any storm.

Learn more about the Life Application Study Bible

15 thoughts on “When the Fears Don’t Go Away

  1. PTL ! – We have His Living word that continuously reminds us that He is indeed sovereign over all including the fears we struggle with as did the disciples. We know He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), but I think that while we are still walking in our mortal flesh, while we are journeying along on the earth waiting patiently for our permanent adoption to sonship, this human flesh gets in the way in our thoughts at times we forget that it’s already all been done for us. Thanks be to God that by the gift of the Holy Spirit we are nudged and reminded of God ‘s precious promises and our peace is restored in the moment by moment surrender to yield to the Creator, not the creature.

  2. Thanks God for letting me read this while I’m going through difficult trial and deep fear right now, I know lord Jesus will command the winds and the storm for me, Amen

  3. I believe Mary was afraid many times throughout her life. Two instances that would underscore this for me are;

    1. When the angel appeared to her and advised her she would be the mother of Jesus. She was slated to marry and had kept herself and now she was threatened to lose Joseph based on her willingness to be obedient to God. Thankful, Joseph was a different and obedient man of God as well but she did not know how he would have reacted.

    2. When her son was arrested and many people wanted to kill Jesus and she became fearful but Jesus provided her with assurance that He would be okay.

    As humans, we will experience fear because of the ‘Adamic nature’ in us but we are assured as Christians that God has not given us a spirit of fear and so we just need to remind ourselves of whose we are.

  4. I enjoyed this very much. I touched me and reached down into my soul and hopefully when I come across my fears that I will be able to act on them with God and not cower in the corner until it passes. I am not sure if that is the correct way to say it, I am terrified of heights and big bridges.

  5. Hi! Thanks for sending this article. You do not know how I dealt with these fears that is runnong through my head for these past few months. Immanuel! Thant is it God is with us! And who can be against us? Thank you Evie Polsley.

  6. Knowing well that the faithful and compassionate God abides with us even when we can’t feel or see him helps us to go through fearful moments and circumstances in this world (life). David understood this and he said in psalm 23 “that even when I go through the valley of shadow of death thy staff (presence) shall keep and comfort me”. This story is a practical experience of palpable fear. May God helps us to be conscious of even when it seems he is a thousand mile away or unconcerned in Jesus name. Amen!

  7. As humans something troublesome will always come our way that brings fear to us. But apostle Paul tells us an encouraging word in 2 Timothy 1:7 that;
    For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
    II Timothy 1:7 NKJV

  8. (2)Yes, Mary was afraid when his son(Jesus)at the age of 12 got missing in a crowd. She was afraid of kidnapping or the young Jesus getting hurt in a way. (1) She was afraid when Joseph told her that an angel had appeared to him in a dream that Herod wanted the child dead; and that they had to ran to Egypt for the child’s safety. (3) She was afraid of what would happen to Jesus the night He was arrested. (4) She was very afraid of the torture her son went through on His way to Calvary (Golgota) (5)She was very afraid that her son was going to die.Yes she was afraid for him.

  9. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and In my mind I immediately defended myself with minimizing my fears. One night during the deep night I had a panicky feeling of great fear. I was so frightened I started to pray. I then felt a hand on my shoulder. A deep calm and sense of peace filled me. For a brief moment I was wondering if that hand could have been my deceased father’s. I then realized that that hand could have only belonged to my Lord JESUS. The comfort and consoling understanding….the removal of my
    panic allowed me to fall into a deep sleep. I have never had an experience of such magnitude. I have been changed since then. I have an abiding faith that He indeed walks with us. He is with me every step of the way. I at times am forgetful of my experience but then I guess He made me a forgetful human!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.